In a very elegant ceremony Saturday, prominent Vincentian community worker in Brooklyn Curlina Edwards tied the knot with her compatriot Desmond Hills at National Church of God of Brooklyn in Brownsville.
Edwards, who is also a health worker and lawyer, and Hills then joined 285 guests in a sophisticated and elaborate reception at Russo’s on the Bay in Howard Beach, Queens.
Almost Who’s Who in the Vincentian community in New York, as well as several of the couple’s family members, friends and co-workers attended both the poignant ceremony and reception.
Otis Defreitas, cousin of the groom, who served as Best Man, said: “This is one of those weddings I’m so excited of.
“I know of Curlina way back, and Des (Desmond) way back,” he said.
“Now, you have a good friend, a good, good friend, and she’s like my sister,” added Defreitas, turning to the groom. “And to have both of you together is really a blessing.”
The bride’s close friend, Laverne McDowald-Thompson — president of the Council of St. Vincent and the Grenadines, U.S.A., Inc. (COSAGO), the Brooklyn-based Vincentian umbrella group in the US, and president of the Brooklyn-based Chateaubelair Development Organization (CDO) — told the couple that the community was “very happy” for them.
The bride also serves a COSAGO’s financial trustee and CDO’s secretary.
“We just have to keep one single word – L-O-V-E,” said McDowald-Thompson, one of the Matrons of Honor, in her toast. The other was Naale Morgan-Rose, another friend of the bride.
“It’s a joyous occasion,” added McDowald-Thompson. “God bless the union, and God bless you both, as you join together as one.”
She then asked guests to raise their glasses and give three cheers. They responded instantly and enthusiastically.
With tears streaming down their cheeks, the bride then presented a bouquet of flowers to McDowald-Thompson.
“You have been with me through thick and thin, during my hard times — law school and relationships,” she said.
Curlina’s father, Alaska Edwards, urged the couple to “nurture” each other, adding: “May you have many, many years together.”
The groom’s father, Firstman “Bardo” Hills, a popular gospel singer in Brooklyn, had opened the reception, after prayers, with “Thank You, Lord.”
Michelle Robinson, the bride’s supervisor in the Food Safety and Community Sanitation Bureau at New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, wished the couple well in their marriage.
“And I hope the strength of this day will keep you together,” she toasted.
COSAGO executives Celia Bramble and O’Brien Simmons said they were honored to witness ‘this wonderful ceremony between these two wonderful people.”
“I’m so happy this evening because Curlina and Desmond are very happy,” Bramble said. “We’re very happy to have her in that organization (COSAGO).”
Simmons, who is also president of the Brooklyn-based Bequia United Progressive Organization (BUPO), described Curlina as his “little sister.”
“I’m the second father,” he said. “So, Curlina and Desmond, I want to wish you all the best. I want everyone to pray for good life for Desmond and Curlina.”
The reception featured, among other things, a musical selection by the groom’s sister, Sharlene Hills; Moco Jumbie’s dance (Stilt Dancers); and a video tribute to Curlina’s son, Kalif, who died tragically a few years ago.
The touching video tribute brought tears to Curlina and many guests.
“Sorry, I’m recuperating after that video,” Curlina remarked before pausing to present the bouquet of flowers to McDowald-Thompson.
Vincentian disc jockey Supa Eyes provided Caribbean and other rhythms throughout the wedding reception.